The Forever Apprentice

Any creative writers out there, do you ever get the urge to look back over your old work, just to see how your writing has changed? I thought this in the context of flash, but rerally, it applies to anything. It might even apply to just matter-of-fact, tell-it-like-it-is blog posts.

(No, let’s be generous. Instead of “changed”, let’s use the word “improved”.)

I identified what I think is my first piece of flash today. I keep them all, though I have no intention to do anything with them. It was only July ’20. I haven’t been writing for long. That’s my excuse.

I had in mind an edit. Same tale, but I felt sure that in just over twelve months, I’ve picked up skills to make the writing both better and briefer.

But do you ever think there’s a good argument for just burying the dead?

That first piece, I had the idea of developing characters that I could use in prompt responses. But even with established characters, I concluded that you still needed four or five minutes to spin a good yarn, and I think that’s too long for a prompt response.

But I can’t help wondering, what will I think of my current writing, in twelve months time?

And maybe it gives an insight into how Stephen King must feel when he picks up something he wrote fifty years ago?


  1. I find it interesting to look back. Sometimes I think ‘that’s really good,’ other times ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ But it’s good to chart the development one’s own work.

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    • I agree. I know I am far better at editing these last twelve months. But I wouldn’t call any of it bad, especially some of the ideas, which are still valid.

      It’s easier to see with the limericks actually, just because the volume is far greater. A lot of the poems a year ago make me cringe but every now and again is a gem. In fact one of my favourites is from more than a year ago.

      Let me take a moment to write this ditty,
      It is certainly fun, and very witty,
      I worked quite hard to make it rhyme,
      And almost succeeded, as you can see.

      That technique – just letting the last line go walkabout – is brilliant, in the right setting.

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  2. Fifty years vs. 12 months is a stretch, but yes, there is evolution, depending on willingness to grow and expand. I love learning new things and reading about fiction writing. Maybe I’ll find time to take a course this year and see what other new tricks I can pick up. Truth from day one, though, is that you have talent.

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    • Funny, I find myself drawn to the technical aspects. I mean, there is the imaginitive spark which is the actual story, but there is a lot else which you can plot on a curve. Which is good!


  3. When I look back to some of my blog posts I wrote 1-2 years ago, I get clear and proudly feeling of how much I have improved. However, Stephen King looking back 50 years in time would be a little too much at this point isn’t it 🥲

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  4. I look back once a week for my Flashback Friday prompt and sometimes, when I read what I wrote, I wonder “who wrote that,” as I have no recollection of having written it. I will occasionally think, after reading what I wrote, “Hey, that was pretty damn good.” But more often I wonder, “What was I thinking when I hit ‘Publish’ on that post?”

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        • Yup, I understand that. I kinda feel similar, plus, if I’m taking part in a prompt, I should read other responses, too. With the Flashback, too, people are looking through old posts, and I think brevity is something we have to learn 🤣. I could handle the 1-minute posts, but the 10-minute ones not so much.

          I try to steer clear of FPQ these days for the same reason, btw.

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  5. Most writers (that I know) never consider any of their work “finished”. They’re endlessly tweaking bits thinking it’s an improvement. Most of the time it’s just different from the original, which was already quite good.

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    • I’ve often thought, you go as far as getting a book in print, it hits the bookstore shelves, and damn! That word on page 96 was the wrong choice! It’s obvious, now. 🤣 I bet that happens to every good writer.

      In software, there was always an element of something being “good enough” to ship, rather than it being perfect.

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      • Besides the fact that most writers wouldn’t buy their own book just to read it, 😂 … and they probably have a crate of them already sitting in garage going damp, you’re pretty much spot on the mark. I think “good enough” is the norm nowadays.

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  6. Ive been blogging three years this month and I write much more spontaneously now then when I first started. But my audience is much smaller then yours ( ie 17 likes for a post is great I’m lucky to get 7 ! 😂😂)

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    • A lot of those likes came originally from responses to daily word prompts. Some of those likes presumably turned into follows, some of those followers actually read the posts, and that generates more likes.

      It’s funny because I look at my own writing and think “nobody could possibly think this is any good”, yet people follow. I see the followers, I think “it is bound to have topped out now” but it keeps on growing. Slowly enough for me to see the number go up in ones and twos. But it leads me to the conclusion that, if people like what I’m writing now, just keep writing it.

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      • Oh yes exactly that. I’m not in it to generate likes on my posts but it does give me a mental boost when I get a bing notice that my post has been liked. Like a connection was made which is partly why I write my blog

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        • That makes perfect sense. I wrote for a few years on Blogger, with no audience, and that was fine because the whole point was to chart my recovery.
          I mean, my writing has evolved anyhow, but knowing that there are people out there who are vaguely interested is nice. I take likes and follows with a pinch of saly, but I do enjoy when people comment. I try to apply that to other people’s blogs too but often I can’t thinkof anything useful to say.

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          • I admit I really relish the comments on my blog. I like discussion and I find on other blogs within the fandom I’m in that they are echo chambers just blowing hot air up the bloggers behind. If someone disagrees or has a different POV then they are attacked or drowned out. So I’ve stopped commenting because my voice isn’t heard or respected. I think writing will
            Evolve as life moves forward so emotions and experiences felt two or three years ago now may be altered or dealt with differently imo

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